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Top Duck Destinations

Where America's most popular species congregate 
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  • photo by Avery Outdoors
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Story at a Glance

Species covered in this article include:

  • Mallard
  • Black Duck
  • Gadwall
  • Pintail
  • Teal
  • Wigeon
  • Canvasback
  • Wood Duck
  • Redhead
  • Scaup
  • Ring-necked Duck

by Bill Nichol

More than any other factor, where a duck hunter falls on the map influences how, when, and which species he hunts. Every year, waterfowl hunters across the United States hunt a diverse ecological patchwork: prairies and woodlands, mountains and coastlines, marshes and even deserts. Each of these habitats attracts a variety of species and lends itself to a different hunting experience.

For example, a black-duck hunter in coastal New Jersey may focus on what time high tide hits his marsh, while a green-timber mallard hunter in Arkansas hopes for a cold, blue-sky morning. In mid-November, a Minnesotan could be storing his duck decoys for the winter just as a Mississippi hunter is getting ready for the season. And while wood ducks are a staple for Georgia duck hunters, they rarely make it into a Washingtonian's bag.

More than any other factor, where a duck hunter falls on the map influences how, when, and which species he hunts. Every year, waterfowl hunters across the United States hunt a diverse ecological patchwork: prairies and woodlands, mountains and coastlines, marshes and even deserts. Each of these habitats attracts a variety of species and lends itself to a different hunting experience. For example, a black-duck hunter in coastal New Jersey may focus on what time high tide hits his marsh, while a green-timber mallard hunter in Arkansas hopes for a cold, blue-sky morning. In mid-November, a Minnesotan could be storing his duck decoys for the winter just as a Mississippi hunter is getting ready for the season. And while wood ducks are a staple for Georgia duck hunters, they rarely make it into a Washingtonian's bag.

In today's rich and diverse waterfowling culture, the following are places where many of America's most popular waterfowl species gather in the greatest abundance, as determined by harvest estimates compiled annually by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and by wintering ground surveys. Many of these locations will be recognized as traditional American hotspots, but others have emerged more recently as prime hunting venues for particular species.

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